by Bhumika Kathuriya

26th December,2017 posted.

Pattachitra An Undying Art Form from Odisha

In India we have had a beautiful journey all along, seeing in terms of the heritage and culture that we have today to protect and curate. Not just states, but if we see vivacity of art and craft, every smallest region is different, hence important. The importance of living in these regions presents itself as a testimony in the form of paintings that are produced. Every region of India has a tradition, quietly reflecting the people and their thought process ranging from happiness to sadness, festivals to mourning, and stills to celebration. These aspects are the living reality of people.

The artistic skill of the Oriya artists is quite unsurpassable in the world. The murals, cloth and palm leaf paintings of Odisha are as old as its magnificent architecture and sculpture.

Pattachitra is a general term for traditional, cloth-based scroll painting. In the Sanskrit language, “Patta” literally means “cloth” and “Chitra” means “picture”. Most of these paintings depict stories of Hindu deities, stories of Lord Jagannath and Radha-Krishna, the ten incarnations of Vishnu, episodes from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata. The best work is found in and around Puri, especially in the village of Raghurajpur, here many chitrakars live in an area dedicated to them called ChitrakarSahe. The Pattachitras of Orissa is icon paintings that include the wall paintings, manuscript painting, palm-leaf etching, and painting on cloth, both cotton, and silk. Pattachitra style of painting is a unique blend of classical and folk element but is more bent towards a folk style in the larger sense. The various motifs used in the Pattachitra paintings are trees, animals, birds, flor, and fauna. In Pattachitramainly five colors are used. These are Vermilion (Hingula), Yellow (Marital), White (Shankha), Black (Kala) and Indian red (Gem).

Generally, Pattachitra art is practiced by the entire family of chitrakarsPattachitra has largely remained uninfluenced by the other schools of Indian paintings, namely the Mughal and Phadi styles. The chitrakara of Odisha uses buffalo hair to make brushes for the thick lines while rat or squirrel hair is used for making brushes meant for finer line work.

Palm leaf pattachitra which is in the Oriya language known as Tala Pattachitra drawn on palm leaf. The painting on palm leaves is a unique process, as ink or pens are not directly used to apply colors.

Pattachitra as an art form very skillfully exemplifies the local craftsmanship a region has to boast. Artists using a handmade material to make such extremely beautiful illustrations depict the inherent talent and folk nature of the craft.

What makes this craft even more unique is that unlike many other handicrafts, which are struggling to maintain their old age standards of fineness, palm leaf paintings are evolving a higher quality of craftsmanship and aesthetic. From an ancient method of documentation, the Pattachitra has become a treasured art thriving under the growing skills of the master craftsmen of Odisha. For an art form to flourish, recognition and awareness, as well as local dissemination of that art form, is important and a  requisite aspect.